Armenian Apostolic Church Celebrates Great Barekendan
On February 7 Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Bun Barekendan or Great Barekendan. This is called Great because it is celebrated before the Great Lent, a time of abstinence and repentance for the faithful. The word Barekendan derives from the word “bari” which means “good” and “kendan” which means “life”. On the day of Great Barekendan people organize games, festivals, carnivals and large, plentiful meals as an implication of the angel’s words to the prophet Elijah: “Arise and eat, because you have a long way to go.”
Great Barekendan is also the memory of human happiness that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. It also symbolizes the example of heavenly life, where a person was allowed to eat all types of fruit, except the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Barekendan is a day when mourning transforms to joy, and torment to peace. This is how Christian souls with repentance and with the hope of mercy start 40 day journey of Great Lent, culminating with the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The period of Lent is related to 40-day period of temptation of Christ in the desert, following which our Church fathers established this period of fasting. During the period of the Great Lent curtains in the churches are closed in commemoration of the fact that after sinning Adam was exiled from Eden and the doors were closed before him.